Rights group: Eritrea forces workers to build mine

AP News
Posted: Jan 15, 2013 10:51 AM

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — An international human rights group is accusing the Eritrean government of using forced labor to construct a gold mine it jointly owns with a Canadian company worth billions of dollars.

Human Rights Watch said in a report Tuesday that workers were forced to construct the Bisha mine in Eritrea operated by Canadian company Nevsun Resources.

The report says Nevsun appears not to know that its local contractor, owned by Eritrea's ruling party, used forced labor.

According to the rights group the workers come from the national service program, where all able-bodied men and most women serve indefinitely, often for years and with no end in sight, under harsh and abusive conditions. The report said those who try to flee risk imprisonment, torture, and even reprisals directed against their families.